Golf Buzz

July 23, 2016 - 4:04pm
Posted by:
Matt Craig
matthew.craig's picture
garrett rank
USA Today Sports Images
28-year-old NHL referee and cancer survivor Garrett Rank made the cut this week at the RBC Canadian Open playing as an amateur.

If the visionary and prophetic film "Happy Gilmore" taught us anything, I guess it's that hockey and golf aren't too far apart.

At least I think that's what Garrett Rank would say, a 28-year-old amateur golfer and professional hockey referee from Elmire, Ontario, who just made the cut at the RBC Canadian Open.

His full-time job is as an NHL referee, after being promoted from the minor leagues earlier this year. But with it being the offseason and all, Rank is up for a little golf. After qualifying for the tournament by winning the 2015 Mid Amateur Championship, he proceeded to fire off rounds of 69 and 75 to make the cut at even par.

He spoke with to explain how he keeps his game sharp during the season.

“I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t take my clubs with me when I was on the road,” he said with a big smile. “I think it helps me and makes it a little easier for me because I know that this isn’t the end of the world, whether I shot 65 or 75.”

Amazingly, that's not even the most incredible part. Rank was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011, but overcame it and maintains the physical shape required to be both a referee and a world-class amateur golfer.

I don't know about you, but I know who I'm rooting for this weekend at Glen Abbey.


July 22, 2016 - 4:33pm
Posted by:
Matt Craig
matthew.craig's picture
hole in one
Wikimedia Commons
On Wednesday at the Billy Casper Pro-Member Tournament, four different golfers recorded holes-in-one, including two in the same grouping on the same hole.

Whenever you see a headline like this, you immediately do a double-take.



So let me try and put this into perspective.

The National Hole In One Association has been recording holes-in-one for over thirty years, and have determined the odds of players hitting one. Golf Digest simplified the information into a nice infographic, but here's what we learned.

The odds of a professional golfer making a hole-in-one are about 2,500 to one. For low handicap amateurs, those odds rise to 5,000 to one. If you're an average amateur golfer, your odds of making an ace go up to 12,500 to one.

Here's where it really gets ridiculous. The odds of two amateurs playing in a foursome both making aces in one round skyrockets to 1,300,000 to one. But for two amateurs to each make an ace in the same foursome on the same hole? The odds on that are 26,000,000 to one, but come on, that would never happen.

Until it did, Wednesday at the Billy Casper Pro-Member Tournament in San Diego, California.

Andy Warren, an assistant pro at The Bridges Golf Club, was paired with 80-year-old Clark Gilson, a former marine helicopter pilot. Warren took a 6-iron, Gilson a driver on the 180-yard third hole. Incredibly both walked away with a one on the scorecard.

As if that wasn't crazy enough, later in the round players in the group in the two groups immediately in front of them each had a player who made an ace at the 13th hole. The odds of all of that happening on the same day have to be infinitesimal.

But aside from the unbelievable rarity of the event, the day produced some great stories as all holes-in-one do. From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

“My eyes aren’t that great anymore,” Gilson said. “I knew when hit the ball it was really good, but I couldn’t see it. Then everybody is saying, ‘good shot’ and ‘that could go in.’ I thought they’d got together and said (whispering), ‘Tell him it went in.’ That was my first thought.”

The enthusiastic reaction convinced Gilson it was real.

“It was kind of stunned silence at first,” Warren said. “I don’t think any of us believed it. We were waiting for someone to tell us we were on ‘Candid Camera.’ You can’t imagine how stunned we all were.”

When they got to the green, Gilson took a picture of the two balls in the hole. He and Warren posed for a picture – with Gilson being somewhat sheepish about having used a driver.

“I tried to hide the club behind me,” Gilson said with a chuckle. “My wife said, you hid it so awkwardly it stood out.”

The only story I've ever heard of crazier than this one is that of Patrick Wills, an amateur golfer in Virginia who is credited with three holes-in-one in a single round at Laurel Hill Golf Club. The odds on that one? A staggering 13 trillion to one, a feat that is probably unrepeatable.
July 21, 2016 - 4:06pm
Posted by:
Matt Craig
matthew.craig's picture
jordan spieth, smart shoes
USA Today Sports Images
Under Armour equipped Jordan Spieth with "smart shoes" during the Open Championship, which counted the number of steps he takes during a round.

We are in the information age, especially in professional sports. And though golf is known sometimes as a late adopter, it can't stop the influx of technology that's being used to perfect the games of the top players.

We all know about the TrackMan, but now a new technology is looking to improve how golfers measure their exertion on the course. This is something that has never been done before, since wearable tracking bands are not allowed during competition. has the story of Under Armour finding a way to circumvent that by eqipping their signature golfer, 23-year-old Jordan Spieth, with "smart shoes."

All told, Spieth racked up 54,000 steps during his four rounds at The Open, which comes to about 13,500 per round. For perspective, the "average" person who wears a tracking band is recommended to walk between 7,000-10,000 steps per day, though the disparity is not surprising considering the average person is not likely to walk around a field for five hours straight.

But Under Armour is not stopping at shoes. The story continues with the incredible lengths the partnership has gone to to track the training habits of Spieth.

He also says he uses the UA Record system to track his sleep and eating patterns. He shared with Fortune that he prefers to sleep at least 8 hours every night (with the goal of about two hours of deep sleep). In terms of his food intake, Spieth favors “whole, real foods” as much as possible, and his go-to snack right now is granola. He admits he could do better staying more hydrated (his goal is to consume at least 140 ounces of fluids each day).

I wonder what John Daly would think of all this, a man who has the same amount of majors as Spieth and for whom we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of his PGA Championship victory at Crooked Stick.


July 21, 2016 - 3:53pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Andrew Johnston
Take a tour of the place that golf's new cult hero, Andrew "Beef" Johnston, calls home.

Andrew "Beef" Johnston is stealing the hearts of golf fans worldwide with his everyman attitude.

But is it all too good to be true? A few seconds into this fantastic video by the European Tour that was posted today, we thought: perhaps it is.

RELATED: Golf's new cult hero: Andrew 'Beef' Johnston

I mean look at that photo above. That's not a house! That's a mansion!

But, guess what? The joke's on us. And it's a good one...

As it turns out, Beef -- who finished eighth last week in the Open -- is simply renting a two-bedroom flat inside that mansion.

Enjoy the tour. It looks like the ultimate bachelor pad -- huge TV, bare walls, beer in the fridge, but no food.

This guy is the best.

July 19, 2016 - 2:36pm
Posted by:
Matt Craig
matthew.craig's picture
gareth bale golf
Twitter / GarethBale11
Wales' soccer star Gareth Bale combined soccer and golf skills for an impressive 30 second display of juggling mastery.

International soccer star Gareth Bale has been a little busy this summer.

On the pitch, he played brilliantly at UEFA Euro 2016, leading his underdog country of Wales to the semifinals. Off of it, he got engaged to his long-time girlfriend.

That's not to say that the self-proclaimed golf fanatic hasn't had time to hit the links. His supposed six handicap is impressive, but his juggling ability combining both foot skills from soccer and club skills from golf is mind-blowing.

Bale kept the ball up for 30 seconds, racking up 58 total touches.


Think you could do better? 

It's a resounding no for me personally, as my personal record is like six touches with my club, and there's no way I'd be able to get more than two with my feet.


Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson
@jacknicklaus on Instagram
For years, the "Duel in the Sun" between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson in the 1977 Open at Turnberry has been revered as the best in the game's history. Nicklaus said in an Instagram post that the Phil Mickelson/Henrik Stenson duel at Royal Troon over the weekend was better.

The 1977 Open Championship at Turnberry will forever be remembered as the "Duel in the Sun."

That's where Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus staged an epic back and forth battle, which Watson eventually won by a single stroke at 12 under. It was one of the Golden Bear's record 19 runner-up finishes in the majors.

The next closest competitor to Nicklaus was Hubert Green. He finished alone in third... 10 shots behind.

Many have called the "Duel in the Sun" the best major ever contested. After 36 holes, both Nicklaus and Watson were one shot off the lead. On Moving Day, the World Golf Hall of Famers each fired 7-under 65s to get to 7 under -- three clear of Ben Crenshaw, the next closest -- to set up the incredible Sunday showdown in Scotland.

On that day, it was a two-man battle. They'd left the competition in the dust.

When all was said and done, Watson carded his second-straight 65 -- one shot better than the 66 Nicklaus turned in -- to win his second Open Championship.

The "Duel in the Sun" was referenced many times over this past weekend just down the road at Royal Troon, where Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson turned the 145th Open Championship into a two-man tournament.

Just like Watson and Nicklaus before them, Stenson and Mickelson sprinted away from the field after 54 holes by playing the greatest golf on the grandest stage, the best you'll likely ever see.

It was like watching two prizefighters battle for the heavyweight belt. Neither player would give an inch.

Mickelson began the day trailing Stenson by one shot. After the first hole in the final round, Mickelson had a one shot lead. The two traded blows back and forth, dazzling with their mind-blowing shotmaking abilities.

In the end, Mickelson shot a 6-under 65 -- more than anyone could ask for in the final round of a major while contending and the best round of the day by two shots...

Except for Stenson. When it's your time, it's your time. Sunday was Stenson's time. He had a round for the ages in a pairing for the ages, which resulted in a tournament for the ages.

Stenson answered the bell at every turn and navigated Royal Troon to a major championship record-tying 18-hole score of 8-under 63 to edge Mickelson by three strokes at 20 under. It was much closer between Mickelson and Stenson than the final tally suggests.

Stenson's 20 under mark was an astounding 14 strokes better than third-place finisher J.B. Holmes.

What nickname will the 145th Open Championship get?

Time will tell.

And, the question has been asked, how does it stack up against Watson and Nicklaus' "Duel in the Sun." Nicklaus didn't waste anytime weighing in. This, via his Instagram account on Sunday night:

"Some in the media have already tried to compare today’s final round to 1977 at Turnberry, with Tom Watson and me in what they called the 'duel in the sun.' I thought we played great and had a wonderful match. On that day, Tom got me, 65-66. Our final round was really good, but theirs was even better. What a great match today."

How about those words from the greatest major champion of all time?